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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Anatomy and pathology of the basal ganglia.

Neurotransmitters of the basal ganglia are of three types: I, amino acids; II, amines; and III, peptides. The amino acids generally act ionotropically while the amines and peptides generally act metabotropically. There are many examples of neurotransmitter coexistence in basal ganglia neurons. Diseases of the basal ganglia are characterized by selective neuronal degeneration. Lesions of the caudate, putamen, subthalamus and substantia nigra pars compacta occur, respectively, in chorea, dystonia, hemiballismus and parkinsonism. The differing signs and symptoms of these diseases constitute strong evidence of the functions of these various nuclei. Basal ganglia diseases can be of genetic origin, as in Huntington's chorea and Wilson's disease, of infectious origin as in Sydenham's chorea and postencephalitic parkinsonism, or of toxic origin as in MPTP poisoning. Regardless of the etiology, the pathogenesis is often regionally concentrated for reasons that are poorly understood. From studies on Parkinson and Huntington disease brains, evidence is presented that a common feature may be the expression of HLA-DR antigen on reactive microglia in the region where pathological neuronal dropout is occurring.[1]


  1. Anatomy and pathology of the basal ganglia. McGeer, P.L., McGeer, E.G., Itagaki, S., Mizukawa, K. The Canadian journal of neurological sciences. Le journal canadien des sciences neurologiques. (1987) [Pubmed]
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